Mario and Bowser: Frenemies Forever (Redux)
Cause and Effect (Chapter 21)
Disclaimer: Mario and co. belong to Nintendo.
Author note: *Newly fixed up a bit*
Dr. Toadley's assistant deflated when she scanned in vain for a stereo system in the utilitarian vehicle. At least she found he interior clean, sterile and well.. vacuumed. She waited incessantly in the car of a kooky scientist, a different one rather, and her bottom was numb, wishing then that Dr. Toadley had room for her to accompany him hour ago. Nothing personal against Prof. E. Gadd, but she found his studies as interesting as terrifying. That extended even to his coffee making.
"Apologizes for the delay." The professor scampered out the clinic. "-Let's dismount this monitor and we're ready. Toadley texted at the last minute that he wants it packed."
"T-the sixty inch one that he promised me to leave in the building because it was way too large and we'd have no room for it in our new smaller office? That one?"
The old professor's smile waned. "Will that be a problem?"
Mary resisted making a face. "I would be happy to oblige.."
While they were hauling it out something loudly clunked down on the clinic's roof. The puff cloud above dissipated by the time Gadd climbed up the ladder up to check it out.
Not a moment later a person clung to him desperately. "Professor! Is it the nineteenth of May 2019?"
Gadd nodded agape. After giving his glasses a swipe across his white lab coat, the wreckage from a spacecraft pod and the four people that had survived were still present and not a trick of his old tired eyes.
A moment later, the professor leaned back on his car pensively. "Criminy, another time machine after that 'situation' with the Mushroom decree?" He remembered vividly his patented contribution to the temporal 'space race' against Dark Land culminating in everyone, even Bowser willingly deciding to scrap it all. Such a thing never occurred again until the recent ban on mach speed personal travel, also known as teleportation. The four he spoke to, Luigi, Peach, and two koopalings he got names mixed up of could only partially follow his careful explanations. Had the Mushroom Flu broken out? What happened to Ludwig? Why was the banner in memory of Mario, 1981- 2019 displayed on an office building across the street showing a date two weeks earlier that it should have been for his death? Was Peach's Castle still around? Bowser Castle? Was a pizza place nearby open?
"Easy everyone," Gadd chided mildly. "There has been no Mushroom Flu in decades. Ludwig's a vagabond according to radio. It's been busy times. Mario passed two weeks ago, condolences if- oh that happened in your timeline too.. The rest of your questions are too political for me to elaborate. It's all been since the teleportation accident-"
After their reaction the professor's tone took on less impersonal nature.
"-I'll slow down. Ludwig claimed his teleporter was inspired by dream or reverie of visitors 'appearing' in his home one night. Know that while the effect looks like what Dr. Professor Koopa did for Bowser in the 90's with his never replicated teleporting potion- If I wasn't banned from the Special World doctor's association I'd hinted to them that he obviously used ecto- oh never mind. Ludwig used hyper speed movement to make a subject 'teleport'. He had his sights on a Mega Villain award but then- two very famous people pushed it to the limit and competition got fierce. Hero and villain went too far and.. that's the tragically of Mario and Bowser.."
Iggy listened, slightly glazed over. "-What about the pizza place?"
"Seriously?" Lemmy frowned at his brother when he noticed wacky watch glowing green in his palms, like an eerie night vision feature in the day. The moon phase was set to a 'new moon' and the hands magnetically snapped to a certain direction like a compass. The rainbow haired koopaling and everyone else followed the direction down the street with their eyes.
"Club Gamecube's open," Gadd continued as if the odd thing hadn't occurred.
Unanimously Luigi and crew agreed to squeeze in Gadd's SUV. The pure white forest trekking machine fitted over sized tires, constructed of anti-boo fiberglass, and equipped with extra bright headlamps darted to the diner for Luigi's crew to grab a snack they didn't realize they were craving then the professor agreed to help them. Going several directions, sometimes backing on itself again he tracked wherever the Wacky Watch lead around town like a hound.
"It's Boo-Tracker model I'm working on sonny," Gadd touched on after Luigi had stared at the rainbow colored radar looking contraption mounted to the windshield enough. He screeched before a huge wall of mist where Toad Town and Area 64 met. It stretched as high as the sky and the watch pointed into the directly into it, prodding further investigation.
"Oh my God I want to get out of here! I'll do anything! I'll walk!" Dr. Toadley's assistant squealed, sandwiched between the koopalings in the backseat. She'd took off the headphones that kept her ignorant of everything only just then.
Luigi's eyes dilated as the unspeakable happened. A puffy cloud dropped to the ground street away from them like a rock, erupting into the splash they could see over the roofs of buildings. "Aww heck! The sky is falling!"
"Ooh, read that in the Timulator's original service manual," Iggy explained sheepishly. "Deterioration of the atmosphere is a side effect of changes to the time line. It's totally temporary I promise! Just stay indoors it warned!"
With a gasp Dr. Toadley's assistant clicked her seat belt back on. "Keep me in this car!"
"Onward we go!" the professor sang. The headlamps switched to high beams inside the mysterious subsection of the Mushroom Kingdom where the landscape transformed into rural farmland. Gadd knew there was something decidedly special going on, the real reason he so eagerly pushed back his plans for the day. He'd taken a peek at the Wacky Watch which was currently in Peach's palms at the moment due to bumps in the road knocking everyone around and was captivated by that 'dark' moon phase...
Less than a mile away.. A camera captured first hand the carnage of a mob chasing their target and cornering him where a high fence partitioned a plot of fire flowers from ice flowers. Before anyone could clobber him a Channel 64 news van teleported on the scene with a heavy plonk as it flattened dozens of flowers.
"Everyone back up!" Yoshi jumped out. Captain Toad, panting heavily in the spot he was cornered in, had two black eyes.
"GYAH!.. I mean- Mr. Yoshisaur, thank you for the backup! (Finally..)" Gathered around him Roy was ready sling fists, Booigi leering, Kylie who was not part of the vigilante crowd as she would insist just documenting, Toad, Morton and other bystanders caught red handed.
"Stop standin' round and pound em!" Roy lounged forward.
Yoshi tossed an egg at Roy. It cracked on his skull which stopped the nineteen year old in his tracks. "I said, back up! What's going on?"
Kylie put away her camera a little too late to escape Yoshi's attention. "Hold on brother, before you pull out your handcuffs know that Luigi's back!"
Yoshi's gaze bounced around. "From.. where?" The dinosaur just couldn't remember, rapid onset dino-dementia he feared and that was a terrible thought, but he couldn't focus on that then.
"Luigi accompanied, was whisked away with my brothers, siblings, collages, Lemmy and Iggy and the princess, the ruler of this land, and together went back to prevent an event. What event?-" Morton lectured, eyes closed and sporting that pompous look as always. He went silent unnaturally before he could warn that as he'd studied in travel guides by conspiracy theorists the 'curse of Area 64' had set in. Starting right...then!
Kylie was ready to continue the story when her own brain scrambled. All her learned memory techniques gone in an instant, an empty head on her on shoulders, the subject of Mario Maker and Mr. Eraser. Then she fainted.
Yoshi nearly dashed to her before a wave of lightheadedness hit him. "Someone else check on her!"
Koopa Scouts kicking in, Junior dove after Kylie straight from the car. "I've been trained for this!" Whatever that phrase meant the koopa child thought. When he was old enough to drive he wanted to drive a tank with laser guns, not a 'train'.
"Everybody I remember! The Captain was swingin' that pickaxe around like the Mushroom Slasher... and vanishing! .. I think?" Toad's face scrunched up, taking everything he had to scrape that memory up.
"And more! I guess I gotta be da smart one, huh," Roy growled. "Luddy and em, Iggy built da machine 'cause a few days ago our uh, butler, nah chef, nah. Someone died and they had ta stop it. Arrgh. Dats all I got." The buff koopaling shrugged as no one could explain what happened only a few hours ago. Yoshi gave up, noticing then that he was missing Captain Toad- and Booigi. His heart sunk again...
"GRRR GET BACK HERE GAAHH!" Booigi barked as they chased Captain Toad deeper into agricultural territory. The two had gotten a mile away from the others by now. Booigi could get close enough to smell him, to almost taste him, to imagine squeezing the life out of him before the toad squeezed through the barrier of Old McKoopa's farm and into Lil Oink Nepoleon plot of land, a field known for its grassy bowl shape.
Whack! Booigi became dazed then, smacking their face against a white marble pillar with micro blocks of words inscribed. It sprouted out of nowhere and when they craned their neck, it seemed to stretch infinitely upwards.
"Congratulations, you have reached the pillar of understanding.." it said softly. "Perceive my sayings."
Boo might have done it, a frequent reader books delivered to their home because public libraries caused social anxiety, but Boo? Who needed Boo? Booigi the Second disregarded it. Ahead in the field Captain Toad's back faced Booigi, crouching still where where he stopped observing a dented piece of machinery planted in a little crater from impact. Appearing to be a vintage hard disk there was a slit on the side where the substance creating the foggy landscape was seeping out.
Booigi froze, turning their head to the side before anger blazed anew. "Turn around!"
Slowly he obeyed. Captain Toad looked ghastly and his open palms crusted with dried blood, but the deranged nature was shed and the his black pupils lacked the unnatural starry nature from before. "Hold on! I don't know what I've become, what's happened, or where this came from, okay?!" The Captain ripped the teleportation module off of this chest where it was strapped. Booigi paid no mind, zoning in like a charging debull.
"By the power of Eldstar you're freaking dead!" Booigi punched him in the stomach so hard he coughed up blood. They glared deep into the toad's beady eyes and was about to crush his neck. Squeezing him extremely hard and fueled by all of the buried disappointment and bitterness Boo ever felt, they were so engulfed in those emotions they felt hot enough to melt. Now Booigi received a vision of tall decaying and abandoned building, the one where boo community meetings were held and Boo was brutally laughed out of the club by their own cousins. Now Boo, their normal self, appeared at the roof shivering, sticking to the middle until another darker boo poofed behind Boo and flung them off with a wicked laugh. Booigi watched their original self plummet to their death-
"Be careful with that!"
Booigi, drenched in sweat, returned to reality. Captain Toad slipped their grasp as Ludwig sprinted down after them unexpectedly. He had a worn light jacket and scarf flowing in the wind, more scraggly and gaunt than remembered. "I assume you're still allies, correct? Good! My prospects more dim than an goomba squadron. That is right, the battalion zapped our resources in half and we lost fifty lives. In addition I've tried everything to escape this zone! Good news: that sandwich you gave me yesterday, delicious now- Soldiers?" Ludwig reached out to Booigi and then The Captain. He gave both a blank stare. "You both look like crap," he remarked bluntly. "-But don't we all? Anyway, I fear reality has folded on itself and I attribute it to that 'Timulator memory deck' at your feet."
Captain Toad and Booigi saw the machine again in a new light. The toad backed up slowly, eyes opened wide. "I did this. I really did this.." he repeated breathlessly.
"Don't you dare.." Booigi glared. Suddenly they gunned after the toad again and Ludwig found himself all alone, aside from a note left from Booigi/Boo. It was checklist 'Notes from Morton' it detailed.
Ludwig scooped it up very curious of how that 'traitor' Morton would be in contact with approved ally Boo Diddly. A once over later he pinched between his brows. It was as his theory suggested. It mentioned angry mob, something about time travel, and 'Dark Star'.
"No such occurred in my timeline so- Ugh! My theory IS correct. I am in two realities at once. An alternate universe myself not only fixed but utilized a time machine," he thought out loud. He waved an arm agitating the mist for demonstration. "Why didn't it click before? This is not fog or my hair would be frizzy." The blue strands in fact were limp over the koopaling's shoulders. "It is space dust, which would not be surprising if we were under the attack of this 'Dark Star'."
Ludwig spitefully stomped the teleporter from Captain Toad, making it crunch under his feet. He was so upset he could explode. The civil war he was in, his father and Mario's recent passing that he was the blame for partially, the fact that his fifteen teleportation patents were illegally copied to create duplicates that disrespected the aforementioned tragedy.. All candidates of his ire, especially those heinous teleporter ripoffs that shared the inherent design flaw of going too fast and killing the user if solid objects blocked the path. The koopaling took notice of an increasingly bright light source then. The glow of high beams dazzled him so that him couldn't see the source until it was on top of him nearly. He knew alone any more.
Ludwig shielded his face. "Gesundheit! A rescue team! Or.. Verdammt, an ambush!" Either way he rose his arms in peace as the silhouettes of five people scrambled out.
"Luddy, you're still okay!" Lemmy beamed. He was the first to leave the car, a confidence he wasn't used to oozing from him.
Ludwig blinked twice. "You're back from the Moon so soon?"
Lemmy's wide smile faltered in confusion.
Ludwig's expression mirrored his younger brother. "Nevermind. I think.. I am referring to another you."
Then Luigi sprung forward to tackle both professor and princess down inches away from touching the machine.
"Luigi!" Peach contested. "I wasn't in a trance, we were lead here- to this... thing for a reason!" The tickle of energy in the air was unmistakable.
Ludwig woefully eyed Prof. Gadd. "Now you find yourself in my position. Does it please you now that in Sarasaland right now in some sweat shop, underage workers are are handling tedious little screws that look like Philips but are actually 'JIS B 1012' for their replicas of my teleporter prototype for coins a day all because you allowed the first leak of my blueprints?"
"..I apologize," Gadd said in a muffled voice from the grass his mouth. "I came to my senses!"
"Luddy why are you so hard up man?" Iggy asked, again leaning against the car for support of his ankle.
Ludwig took a deep breath. "Because none of you are from my timeline. I'll catch you up: I'm on the run. There is a large bounty me. Most of my own turned against me. Society is breaking down. Hundreds are dying daily from political confusion. I did not brush my teeth this morning. That's just some of the reasons I'm 'hard up'." He paused again. "We can't stay here. Many want my blood."
Lemmy fought against the natural tendency to shake like a leaf. Instead he balled his fists in determination. "I hate that we couldn't fix everything or keep dad from.. but it's not about making everything perfect anymore. I remember stuff another you told me and I'm not gonna forget it! We just have to do our best. Let's get out of here!"
Ludwig approached the younger brother gently. "You have never said truer words, little brother. Or at least my you hasnt. Oh you get what I mean. Help me destroy this space dust spewing memory module. It has by some event been endued to become a 'special object'."
"The Timulator explosion," Luigi, Lemmy, and Iggy said at once.
Mary screamed from inside the car, grabbing their attention. Two koopas were giving war cries in the distance, attracted by the light and charging at everyone.
"Caught ya, sucka!" Larry flung himself over a fence with war paint under his eyes and tattered red bandanna tied around his head. The usual mohawk was back into a pony tail and he brandished a koopatrol grade spear with lava hardened iron. It was thrown and everyone ducked to the ground where it planted deep and barely missed Ludwig.
Wendy trailed her little brother. She was very plain with no make up, only a spray painted pink army helmet and had an embroidered zapper hostler. Lemmy noticed right away because he'd fired it some time on the Dark Land range that it was the one Kammy gifted her one year as a horrible misunderstanding of what the kids were into.
"Under 'Kingly Law XXVYXCWYZ section 20' you are decommissioned as Dark Land general and deemed guilty for blowing up the castle and what happened to daddy." The ocean princess aimed the weapon. Everyone's arms rose.
Larry marched up to everyone smugly. He snatched the watch from Peach and made it rattle around. "What's this hunk of junk worth?"
"Don't!" the princess protested.
"Shuddup, yo!" Larry pulled out another spear and spun it around stylishly, savoring every moment. "What's gonna save y'all now? The po-po?"
"Exactly, young man. Freeze!" Ranger Yoshi strode on the scene with a strict professional and impassive demeanor, wearing a deputy hat and a gold badge on his chest. "First renegade teleporting then most conspiring with most wanted Ludwig Von Koopa and his-" the constable briefly observed. "Weather machine!"
Prof. Gadd quietly scolded himself for not shutting down his car's lights. It was acting like a beacon and more bodies were coming into focus drawn to it. Area 64's scale at first seemed impossibly vast but now those still alive were stumbling upon each other easily on accident.
Daringly, Luigi picked up the tape drive and whisked himself away in a blink of the eye. Roy was approaching, the 'New Roy' as he made no resistance to the switch, and he wanted pounce everyone without knowing why. "Get em!"
Wendy climbed on his back and fired shots into the giant cloud obscuring Luigi and crew. "Drats.."
Morton tried to keep up with large heavy steps. "Do not harm Luigi and company!" he started as new and old memories clashed in his skull. Another 'Morton' fought to take over, one that wanted to seize Ludwig. That same new timeline Morton also however knew a dire secret stringing the entire operation along. -If only he had an audience to reveal it to!
The surviving eclectic group of the Mario Fan Club realized who was in their midst sought to chase Ludwig. The Koopa Troop were as anti-teleportation as their family and while they had no memory suddenly of why they were in the Mushroom Kingdom in the first place, they yearned to kill the father of teleportation, unaware of its real origins, and any of his allies.
"Quick thinking, boy. The best thing to do sometimes is make like a boo and vanish!"
Luigi faintly made out Prof. Gadd giving an impressive hustle for his age. They left Napoleon's farm to the dirt roads again and then out into a paved road. Luigi escaped Area 64's fog wall with the tape drive cradled in his arms. The city however had transformed. More clouds had fallen, making everything wispier. The sun could not even be made out as any more than a dull glow and gathered at the street walk with him was Peach, Lemmy, and Ludwig only.
"Where's the rest?" Luigi gasped.
"Check again, plumber!" Ludwig peered back as high beams sliced through the mist and Gadd's van pulled up. The window rolled down and Iggy was driving with one leg propped up and Dr. Toadley's intern in the back hyperventilating.
"Have you guys played Grand Theft Auto?"
"Not a fan?" Luigi answered hesitantly, fearing the worst.
"Me neither. I'm more of an MMO player," Iggy concluded, bringing that thought nowhere.
"-We can put that machine the car?" Peach asked to get back to business. "If we drop it off Star Hill just north of my castle here's no way the poor thing will survive."
"Miss Petunia hitched a ride back there once. Yes, there is room," Gadd reassured.
"I approve of this course of action." Ludwig helped himself inside, swinging into a bucket seat with the coat rack. "Just hold your breaths. Space dust causes asthma and hives."
A u-turn was necessitated and performed quickly with pursuers leaving Area 64. (Un)fortunately for them Iggy was a maniac on the road. They busted through the gate out of the South and back into Toad Town. Luigi peeked out of the window to find someone holding the gate shut shut with unusual strength, thus locking out the majority of the Mario Fan Club. Luigi saw.
"Call me Stan, Luigi. Take this," Captain Toad tossed over a borrowed wrench that Luigi caught from the window.
But it was from their original timeline? Oh he didn't try to think about it. All that mattered was that he saw his friend again. On smoother roads the seven sped the crammed vehicle down urban streets of questionable visibility when they heard sirens. The flashing lights overtook them and they saw that it was a Channel 64 van.
Ranger Yoshi raced swerved along side them. "Stop the vehicle!"
Kylie rolled the back window down with an ice pack on her head. A green capped toad they didn't know (Mitch) was also back there. "My darn noggin's gone bad and I don't know why I'm saying this, but keep going, brother!"
Ranger Yoshi glared in the rear view. "Stay out of this, reporters."
"Slow down so I can snap a better photo, dude," Mitch yelled over the wind.
"Not falling for that."
Whoosh! Now a Boo was setting, or floating in the empty passenger seat next to the sheriff. Boo without the crutch of Booigi did what was apparently their new skill, cause chaos. Boo grabbed the wheel and sharply veered the news van over and off into the curb and into Toad Town park. Fighting over control, they ran through plants and bushes and trees and eventually ended up nose first into the water fountain.
Gadd's car passed cut through the square and started to head north of the city when they faced another a mixed bunch of Koopa Troop of all shapes and sizes lined across the four lane street in unison. There was a Dark Land desert storm tank in the rear forcing them divert at the intersection to a smaller back street.
"The Koopa Troop cooperating? Where did they get that from?" Ludwig lamented as the tank became hot on their trail. Lemmy was about to mention it was actually him, albeit in a different reality, that gave the entire army tranquility training last year. The tank fired and blew up a fire hydrant. The gushing water created a hint of quarter rainbow.
"Ohmygosh, that's totally cool and they're heading to the castle where I've never been there before! Wow, I want an autograph from Toadsworth and I want to see if the giant paintings are real!" someone said inside the tank. The hatch opened, revealing Emery who was chippy for just a moment before firing off waves of ammo at Gadd's car with murderous intent again. They swung around the corner and were back on Starman road.
"Blast them already!" Bowser Junior screeched, the commander responsible for the dozens road signs they'd knocked down.
The suv made a split down an alley between Club 64 and an item shop while the tank blasted down both buildings. The structures peeled like a banana, revealing the ruffled folk who were in both. Some toads were in the item shop but a group consisting of a monty mole, a mega goomba, a parakoopa, a wiggler, and a snifit were in the diner and very unhappy.
"Blowing up places to eat is a health violation. Get dat tank boys!" James 'Jimmy' M of the Mushroom Kingdom Disease Control Unit declared. The MKDCU mercilessly chased the Koopa Troop tank down.
Emery recognized her classmate Sebastian and got cold feet, not warning the koopa prince that he was running the tank off of the ramp to Royal Raceway and into the lake. They splashed in the water and frighteningly for them, the MKDCU chased them to the seabed where the hunt continued on among cheep cheeps and bloopers.
As Gadd's car escaped up the ramp of Royal Raceway drive, Peach saw her castle over the hill and noticed with a complex mix of horror and intrigue that it seemed exactly as it was in her timeline, even down to the crack down the moat and the same construction company that she'd selected at random from and dusty phone book. They drove along Peach's Castle and collectively shuddered. They were beaten there. Larry, Roy, Morton, and Wendy were in the yard while the construction company continued to work and ignore their presence. Roy dauntlessly stepped before the car and forced them to screech.
"Ha! We knew you'd try to hide at da castle, Luddy!" Roy growled, propping his foot on the van's grill.
"I am impressed you attempted to use your brain," Ludwig replied with a huff. "But..WRONG!"
"I don't think we should be ticking these guys off," Luigi groaned, "Considering-"
Morton ripped the door off of on the passenger side. "We have ravished your watch! Now relinquish, give up, hand over, the smoke machine that is currently burning, irritating, my eyes!" Roy ripped off the opposite door and then Wendy blasted one of the tires flat, sinking the car to the side.
"-That," Luigi sighed.
"Everyone out!" the furious female koopaling howled. Larry lifted the back door and got blasted with the space dust. He choked at first then relaxed, posture slumping. Being in the tight space with the dust and the resulting red eyes made Luigi and crew smell and look like galactic stoners from outer space.
"We surrender!" The intern looked to Prof. Gadd for support. "Right? We have real careers you know."
The professor smiled back. "Can I get one thing from the car? It's important, can't live without it."
"Like what?" Wendy aimed the zapper at his chest.
"My leak protection underwear," he replied stoically.
"Ugh! Go on before you start pissing all over the place!" Wendy kept her nose scrunched and zapper aimed as Gadd sidestepped Larry. He went out of view and the other six waited anxiously while Peach watched a shadow in an upper window of her castle, the only one not shattered. It had a round head like a toad. She stopped herself from being too excited or conspicuous. Her blue eyes darted to the closest person next to her, Lemmy. They shared the briefest glance but the koopaling caught on. Lemmy whistled loudly, startling his siblings and forcing everyone to cover their ears. Eye daggers from Wendy, Morton, Roy, and Larry impaled him. He could almost feel it literally.
"I do that when I'm nervous, you know that!" Lemmy sputtered.
"Since when?" Wendy, Roy, and Larry replied.
"Since- How did you beat us here?" Lemmy diverted cleverly. "Don't lie now. Too late, your eyelid is doing the twitchy thing Wendy!"
His sister clammed up worridly, a flash of the sister Lemmy remembered- at least when she knew she was in trouble. Wendy then yanked something from her shell with a red button green button and dial for distance. A teleporter. The shock on Ludwig's face surpassed all.
"Sister mine! How?"
Morton rose one finger, interpreting this moment for a reason only he knew to be the time to reveal his secret. "Ah ha. I remember! The manhunt for Ludwig is not because of the bob-omb strike on our castle but because Wendy was going to take credit for teleporting in the name of Koopa female contributions in sciences and technology as she felt she really gave Luddy the idea and she felt he got too much credit for group efforts in the Koopa Troop and with the money and fame she was going to buy Water Land, build a resort, build an army of vicious fashion warriors and occasionally appear on the Poshley Heights runway as the 'Mystique Queen Wendy O.' while the rest brothers of us do whatever we want because if it was ugly boy stuff she didn't care about it anyway!"
Luigi blinked. "What."
Wendy pat down stringy hairs that had sprung up on their own. "..Remember when I was snooping around old potions in the castle? I found the teleportation one and Luddy, you laughed me off because to you 'it was utter futility'. Then weeks later I was nice to you and made some special tea for concentration. Well, maybe I had an AP brewery class to study for too, but point is I did something nice."
Ludwig nodded, his expression begging for more clarification.
"Kammy taught me how, it's actually a memory tonic. The same one she gave to Kamek decades ago. Behind every great man is a.. Yeah. So with the help of her tonic he created the indestructible wands standard issue to magikoopas today. You'll never see her part in that in the books and that's a problem with the Koopa Kingdom. Those that deserve credit don't get it if their a girl. It's like a political pyramid scheme." She abruptly fired in the sky with no trigger discipline. "And I hate pyramids! And deserts, and dry weather- you get me."
"You make a point. Some of the Koopa Kingdom's ways are outdated, but is this really- how to say- the right time for revolution? All seven other continental Kingdoms turned on us after Vater's passing, you know that! I did bomb our castle, but it was to destroy the teleporters there. It was a critical, brutal, and complex decision. Moreso than I've ever made." Ludwig explained. Luigi and co remained deathly silent, soaking in the events of this new reality. "Sister mine, you are only seventeen and what's happening-"
"Is to big for me to understand, right Luddy? Is it really my age that's the issue? I've studied the same books as you," she hissed. "You just automatically assume I don't get it, you know it all!"
"Wendy," Iggy plead. "I don't think that. I'm tired of dragging assistants to the basement with me and I've asked you a million times to help out. We are the only Sony fans in the castle, we have to stick together."
"No, nerd breath," she replied.
"Wendy dear," Peach started in a mild but firm way, "is this really about untapped creativity that patriarchal koopa customs stifle? -Or do you just want selfish power?"
Wendy was still for a moment and then screeched, slamming the gun down to the ground. "Alright! Like we could really keep the Koopa Troop going without daddy! What will we do? Junior was next in line but he's a kid and we're just- I don't even know! We're rejects! We always were! Now daddy doesn't have to be miserable anymore while we suffer! Do we know what to do with ourselves? Roy?"
Roy spun from her to the others, dumbfounded.
The fifteen year old was too dizzy to reply.
She then pointed at her oldest brother. "And you were just gonna ride it out Luddy. The world against us and you run!"
"Correct." Ludwig lowered his head. "We have no King. We have nothing. Nichts."
Luigi opened his mouth to say something but couldn't, feeling punched.
This wasn't going right, Lemmy thought. The bleak mood was identical to the morning before they time traveled. He and his siblings aimless and waiting around to die of emptiness. He would never return to that dark place. Lemmy stepped forward. "Everyone, it doesn't have to be this way! We're not losers or cowards or failures or anything just cause dad's gone! We have to move forward. If Dark Land has no king at the moment then- I'm the King now!" He took a larger step closer and Wendy staggered back and fell on her butt.
"Hip is King?" she babbled. It seemed she'd have a change of face before she scowled and pressed a button on the teleporter she'd ripped off. The moody sky flashed.
Morton held his tongue, the first to spot the sentry teleporting on the scene with something hanging on. "Not even a time paradox would make me turn on you, princess!" Toad tussled in the sky with Sentry 11. Arguing over control hey swooped over everyone's heads, the construction workers, and into the open hole on the castle where Peach's mosaic was.
Wendy had another shock of her life as the ground shook. The doors of the castle opened wide and a gaggle of toads rushed out, hopping bravely over the broken moat and spreading out into the field. Buckenberry lead the way and everyone split into chaos. It was then that Prof. Gadd emerged from the van with what a cruder prototype F.L.U.D.D strapped to his back. He grabbed the Tape Drive and Dr. Toadley's intern and up he went in the sky with the jet stream, up and over the castle.
"Don't stand down! I said, Morton- No! Ahhg! You guys are DORKS! Come back here!" Wendy growled, the zapper getting stomped on dozens of times and unusable. Roy had five toads attacking him in unison and Morton got so mixed up his shell spun backwards.
"We're being trashed by talking mushrooms! Whoa maaaann!" Larry tripped out and scurried away.
The backyard of the castle had construction tools and pallets Luigi and Peach weaved through, following Gadd's trail in the sky over the hills where the sky darkened, the soil became purple and the twinkles of stars above tickled their ears. The location had a captivating feeling in the air, a vestige of star energy from a set of events so long ago. A third of the way up the winding path Luigi crossed Prof. Gadd and the intern just as they landed. The professor was bent to his knees, panting.
"I'll feel this one tomorrow!" Gadd tossed it over. "Take this boy. Make me proud!"
They went up to the cliffs edge where the sky was a deep purple and star bits sprinkled down like gentle rain. Luigi glanced over and the unfathomable drop, like the bottomless pits of legend where no light escaped and anything down there was doomed, prey of the dreaded Underchomp.
"Ready plumber?" Ludwig dropped down beside him, the first time he'd paid attention of who was on his heels aside from Peach. "Or shall we wait for the King?" he added with no sarcasm.
"Go!" Lemmy high pitched voice said from a distance back.
Luigi locked on to him quickly but earnestly. "Lemmy? Thanks for that earlier...now let's roll."
Together Luigi and Ludwig slung the tape drive off the cliff so tenaciously they almost tossed themselves with it. Peach, Lemmy, and Iggy pulled them back as the black box vanished in the dark pit. They waited for a reaction so intensely they didn't hear the commotion and the clatter of others tearing up perfectly preserved landscape until Iggy rolled over to his back and slid up his glasses for a good view. "Whoa nelly!"
Everyone spun to spot Larry Koopa running for his life, tears running from him like sprinklers. The petrified teenager cling to Ludwig. He had his rebel bandanna torn off and all weapons long tossed.
"Man I'm sorry! Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry! I don't feel good anymore!"
"Larry!" Ludwig gasped.
"-Here take it back!" Larry retrieved from his shell the Wacky Watch and dropped like trash as the rest of the hoard arrived.
The toads who'd chased Larry chanted and Buckenberry and Alagold was in the forefront with a flashlight. "For Mario!" he added to the chant.
Larry hid behind everyone's feet. "I'm just a kid! Don't let them freaking kill meeeee!"
Luigi saw the fire, the spirit of Mario in the toads. He rose his voice trying to stop them but the locomotive was in motion at full speed.
Lemmy scooped up the watch and felt like all the stage spotlights in the world were shining on him at once. He'd better have a grand finale and he figured it out. He flung the glowing object as hard as he could over the ledge. The Earth shook and before the toad army could pulverize anyone a colossal beam of green light ascended up into the heavens with a tumultuous drone that sent dozens of bodies rolling down hill.
"Let us take a breather. No? Okay, carry on." Millennium Star's aside was enough distraction to halt the barrage of dark matter for a second. The dark star, Doomella as he knew because he knew everyone, was fierce, young and bored while Earth suffered from the leftovers of her influence. She was crafty too, in more places than one, which was not unheard of but unexpected from such a sweet little face. The war continued before a flash of green separated them.
"Why does this keep happeningggggg!" Doomella was launched across the atmosphere by the beam. People all around the planet observed a black shooting star make going round and round.
Celebration short lived, Millennium Star circled the Earth to catch up. If she got buried again from impact the entire ordeal would simply repeat in a hundred or so more years and he'd have to deal with it again. Those darn downsides of immortality.. During the seventh revolution the ancient star observed perspicaciously the numbers '4444 Chai' on the smooth but dull metal husk of a flying missile as it performed acrobatic maneuvers over the skies of Chai, Muda, Birabuto, and the East ocean.
...Back on Earth, Daisy's fingers scraped against the bottom of her bowl of snacks while the other hand was on the joystick controlling the missile. There was a blotted out portion of her memory obscuring how it launched in the first place but there was no time for her special meditation technique involving standing on her head. There was no safe place to take it down, not even the ocean with spring season bringing tourists on boats. A new blip whipped across the screens.
"Phone!" Ming popped up over her shoulder. He waited then added, "-It's Luigi!"
She snatched the phone. "Hello, this is indeed Luigi! Have you observed the object in the sky? It is the dark star! Ho ho- ahem. -If you happened to have an object under your skillful control to attack it, why, that would be convenient."
"First, did you get my card?" she asked worridly.
"Hmm? Uh.. Of course, my love."
"'My love', did you just call me that dawg?" Daisy flushed, amused and flustered at once. That was undoubtedly the green plumber's voice even if the inflections were unfamiliar. Regardless, the edge in her melted away. She mashed the controls harder making the missile chase at super sonic speeds out of Sarasaland territory and above the East Sea. Then- the screen was an empty grid. Daisy zoomed out the radar view and nearly flipped in her seat. She'd chased that object and created an explosion all the way in the Mushroom Kingdom...
"Success!" boomed Millennium Star with a thunderous voice. 500 tones of nuclear power shot Doomella deep into space, soaring before smacking against a dome shape. Her face slid down a window while luma children giggled from within the structure, then she fell to flat marble with circles engraved. There was a grassy area to the left, a velvet red carpet to the right, and shoes tapping in front of her, hidden behind a long teal gown.
"Well, what do we have here?" Rosalina waved a hand and summoned a dozen lumas to dance and gather around the dazed dark star. "(Heart music note)!?, how did you know the precise location to park the Observatory?"
Geno arrived from the opposite side. "I've been blasted from many planets before. I could calculate the trajectory in my sleep!"
"Wonderful!" The space queen cupped the star warrior's face and they blushed at each other while Doomella wailed in the background. Eldstar was behind schedule due to something that make his phone call to Geno a few moments ago be full of barking. Geno understood that Doomella would soon really wish she remained buried in Sarasaland.
Luigi woke up a minute after the blast with many others. While his body sent the signal of agony, inwardly he rattled too hard for any sensation. He staggered to his feet as something circular rose from the heart of Toad Town. A stainless steel fan larger than the hills rose into the mist and let out a loud click while a dramatic orchestra piece played. Ludwig recognized it, a piece from the daring Finnish Shy Guy named Bise in his ballet called "Brickfielder? I hardly know her! (Blow me away)". The motor roared, three blades rotated clockwise, and the whirlwind swept anything not bolted down away. A colossal storm, the space dust and fallen clouds in the atmosphere were blown into the ocean where he sun could scorch it away. The fan then peeled away as a 2-D object.
"Oh no! Our hard work!" whined a purple robed bandit, arms stretched out to catch some of the tattered pieces of the 'thing sticker' floating in the ether, the one he and Jelectro, Agent N, Spy Guy, Agent 999, Agent M, and Agent Toad spent the last nine hours unpeeling from the remote Decalburg.
"Return to base, agents." The yoshi spy captain gave a quick peek out of the secret warp pipe the agents were hiding in. "Yes, you too Trevor!" he added before the pink boo could slip away into the city. He watched each of them drag their feet in assuming they had feet, but stopped the short noki so that they were the last agents left in the open. He lowered his tone. "You still shook me out of bed at 4 AM and I want an explanation, Jelectro. Don't say it was for this. Fog is not an emergency."
"It was mon ami, trust me," Jelectro slung his arm around him. "Oh and payback for making sleep on the couch once in another reality."
...Star bits once exclusive to the hill sailed across Toad Town and surrounding, sprinkling every unsettled villager with a gentle calming and sparkly shower. The toads returned to the castle to find that a hunk of a Sarasaland missile had crushed the structure down to rubble. Returning also, Peach cupped her face in horror. She could not fathom the catastrophe until Toadsworth and his prophecy of her castle's demise, the reason the toads had abandoned her in the other timeline, rung in the back of her mind. She dropped to the ground and laughed madly.
Luigi walked aimlessly down the Royal Raceway away from the castle. He wasn't sure how he'd gotten there but with the adventure over the spark was gone. What remained was the wandering husk he was just the other day. The same one that missed his brother's memorial...
The green plumber dropped to his knees. "Mario. Just know. That I did it all for you..."
"I know, little bro. I knew you could without me. No one else could have done it better."
Luigi lifted his face as tears streamed down and looked upwards to the stars.
Author note: Epilogue time! Was this what you thought it'd be? Was it what I thought it'd be? No but I decided that this ambivalent conclusion as opposed to the saccharine one New Frenemy Adventure (and to a lesser extent the non-Redux Frenemies Forever) brought us is what really fit. Thanks for reading. If there's questions, it might be answered soon.
Created: 1/16/20, 1/19, 1/21, 1/22, 1/24, 1/25, 1/28, 1/31, 2/1, 2/2, 2/4, 2/5, 2/6, 2/8, 2/9
Edit: 3/2/20, 7/13/20